Shaffer v. Acme Limestone Company

In Shaffer v. Acme Limestone Company, 206 W.Va. 333, 524 S.E.2d 688 (1999), a quarry contracted with a trucking company, whose employees operated that company's trucks, to haul stone to the quarry's customers. Additionally, there was no evidence that the work of the trucking company included promoting the quarry's stone to potential new customers; or that the contract between the quarry and trucking company was terminable at will. The Court held that a limestone quarry was potentially liable under respondeat superior for the results of allegedly negligent conduct by a trucking company that delivered stone to a the quarry's customers -- even though the trucking company was otherwise an independent contractor -- because there was a question as to whether the quarry was illegally overloading the company's trucks. If the alleged illegal loading were proven, the Court held, the quarry would have been so implicated in wrongful conduct by the trucking company as to prevent the applicability of the independent contractor exception to respondeat superior.